Thursday, 31 December 2009

2010 sounds classy...

Here we are then - still alive in 2010 -
me and the Captain dining in Rennes-les-Bains with 4 Danish,
one Irish, one Aussie and one Brit. A fine melange and given
that the rest of the restaurant (le Hosterlerie) were dancing
tango and singing french songs, the whole about to erupt into
the dream of the united nations, we did well; though the
Captain was a tad hors d'combat and we left slightly before

Here he is, plotting this years triumphs:
me,ditto - or perhaps just out of it, with Suzie and Kay
plus Trebor, who organised the evening, and Simon
and Judith

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Behold, the Captains project!!! Its big and very very lovely-

And here at last are the less-blurred photies from Charlotte and
Tims birthday party, way back when -

A terrific party, judging by the happy blurred faces of
our friends -

David Whittaker has done well while I was offline - here is the
link to Robert Fripps diary -

And the rest will have to wait.

Twas Crimbo

'Twas Crimbo in Tilling-sur-Aude
parties, fetes, events à la mode
I was so poorly*
I missed them all sorely
Now I've nothing to put in my ode.

*Sinusitis, bloody orrible

Actually I was up and running on Crimboday, just in time for
lunch at Andy and Louises with Patricia and the kids - smashing
day though the business with the wooden spoon and the blanket
is still a mystery.

And still on form for Robin and Jennifers annual mega lunch; by
then I had got my arse into gear and remembered a camera.

The french are charmingly mystified by our traditions - and
I will never again attempt to translate cracker jokes - when
the time came to light the christmas puds there were cries
for the pompiers to be in attendance.
They were on the terrace having a cigarette.

Oh! It may not have escaped your notice that I am back on line!
Hurrah and thrice hurrah and a pox on Orange - this is the Brit lot
Teleconnect which has three stars from me, so far anyway.

Monday, 14 December 2009

service temporary suspended

Sorry folks - still no internet servuce. Orange, a pox ont.

I have nice photos of Tim and Charlottes birthday party
waiting to go up.

And of Tilling in the snow.

Friday, 4 December 2009

me and annies vernisage

Got no computer and if anyone mentions Orange
I shall display unseemly rage.
Fortunately I have the use of Ians machine
(thanks Ian.)

It was a great night anyway. I broke my alcohol
fast and drank three glasses of blanquette.
Very nice though I'm not sure that it makes that
much difference to my general being.
As can be seen in the photo I am still wedded
to death and gloom.

Many friends turned out- thanks all!
Here are some shots of the soiree;

-and the moon, gibbous over Quillan

Thursday, 26 November 2009

dates and events

Diaries out;

Louise has her annual jewelry blanquetterie on 29th Nov.
Always terrific fun and a chance to catch up with all the other
bijoux fans.
My vernissage with Annie Poulain on the 1st Dec. - at
6.00pm, not 5 as previously stated - at Galerie Maude/Salome,
Grand Rue, Quillan.
4th Dec is the vernisage at the Artoteque at Rennes les Bains,
featuring Ullabendick and Aileen.
Arts et Cadres at Campagne-sur-aude has a Vide Atelier
Artistes between 11 - 5.00pm on the 5th and 6th Dec.
Until 16 Jan., at Musee Petiet, Limoux, you can catch Achille
Lauge (1861-1944) artist of these parts - colleague of Seurats
and also pointillist. Trotted off to see it yesterday, forgetting
that I don't actually like that kind of laborious work -
nonetheless, its quality and its there.
Here is a self-portrait; me and Lauge.

Whilst hanging around Limoux went to one of those old
churches and got a pang for the church in St James's,
with the organ carved by Grinling Gibbons.
It a bit like this.

Though not that much, actually. Liked the fleur-de-lys
that tops it, presumably indicating union of church and king.

Lunched with the ladies beforehand; look what Yvonne did
as a starter, aint it so pretty? AND it was delicious

as was the whole lunch - though I had to skip pud to get to
Limoux. Anyone report??

Above is a strange plant in my garden: anyone know what it is?
Looks like an alien. Has big white flowers.
And finally.... my christmas present has landed. Michael
managed by some strange magic to get my pretty caravan on
to the top of the mountain, where it sits like the ark after the
flood subsided. I shall sleep under the stars and watch the wild
boars frolic from the comfort and safety of the little palace.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

can't help it-

Sorry. Ive turned into the sort of blogger
that puts up wistful poetry.
But snatches of this kept coming back to
me during a pyromaniacial afternoon and
its so good- lets share!! (and thanks to
Mary Robson who introduced me to it.)

The Burning of the Leaves

Now is the time for the burning of the leaves,
They go to the fire; the nostrils prick with smoke
Wandering slowly into the weeping mist.
Brittle and blotched, ragged and rotten sheaves!
A flame seizes the smoldering ruin, and bites
On stubborn stalks that crackle as they resist.

The last hollyhock’s fallen tower is dust:
All the spices of June are a bitter reek,
All the extravagant riches spent and mean.
All burns! the reddest rose is a ghost.
Spark whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild
Fingers of fire are making corruption clean.

Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare,
Time for the burning of days ended and done,
Idle solace of things that have gone before,
Rootless hope and fruitless desire are there:
Let them go to the fire with never a look behind.
That world that was ours is a world that is ours no more.

They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour,
And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.

Laurence Binyon (1942)

Sian; overcoming disaster -

Sian has been keeping quiet about having cancer. Most of
Tilling knows about her condition now since she put it on
facebook, so I have linked to her blog (see list at the side of
the page). She writes so well! Very moving, very funny, very
honest - very Sian.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

new neighbours

Bieke and Wilhem have bought a house
in Tilling!

They will not take possession until April
as its Ellie and Johns place (behind
Helene Martys on Rue Victor Hugo) and
they will use the house for a bit longer.

Bieke and Wilhem will continue to live
in Ghent and when they take possession
use it for some of the year...

Much rejoicing in the impasse tonight (in an alcohol free way
of course - how are you supposed to celebrate without booze?
Wine gums??)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

last nights star show cancelled

Bieke and Wilhem are here - more of them later - and the night
before last we passed in sitting up the mountain watching the
milky way, waiting for the meteor showers that enliven our
Wilhem saw one meteor and Bieke thinks she might have
seen one too.
We were set to trot back up last night for the peak of the
display but the skies had clouded over, alas.
Had to sit indoors and chatter instead.

I read that the particle accelerator in Switzerland is being
switched on again this weekend after a bit of dodgy soldering
caused its total collapse last year. There is none of last years
razzamatazz. Perhaps people are still disappointed that the
world didn't end last time.

There is some connection between accelerated particles and
meteor showers but I can't think what it is. Lets hope that
CERN gets better luck than we did last night.

Tilling hits new seam

A wave of prospectors hits Tilling - see photo for weird
example - though what they are excavating is a
mystery. Probably found the back entrance to the
pyramids where the akashic records are stored.

Nothing would surprise me about this place.

Monday, 16 November 2009

You have been warned.

Private view, December 1st - me and Annie Treboul-Poullain
doing our bit for cross-cultural whatnot.
And flogging stuff cheap for christmas.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

more movements

Leos farewell; the Captain leaves tomorrow too but at least
Kats back. Here is a phreaky photo of them and Luna, the
other Kat -she returns to Amsterdam with Leo. The black
Kat, that is. If he's found her passport.
An hysterical evening beginning at Leo's, moving to the gig
at T-Rex and returning to Leos.
I have bottled out of the last bit on account of virtue and
sobriety having the upper hand.
Leo is going to be trash at 6.00 am, heheheh.

Friday, 13 November 2009

small but not all that small

The audience at Stan and Debs gig tonight was not all that small -!
Some of us are jolly large.
Brought back memories of the Troubadour but tonight's place was
cleaner. (Cant remember the name but it was the patisserie next
to Ed's - really good place for sound and comfort and ambiance)

To say I have been featured in todays Guardian is pushing it a bit;
nonetheless, I have been featured in todays Guardian.

Coustassa and Esperaza

Here is Coustassa viewed yesterday morning from
Rennes les Bains:

and Tilling this morning.

and a dead plant.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

strange silence

Strange silence on my part due to the presence of Iain, here
clearly visible as in fine fettle.

First night we went to La Cantou with Peter G and Leo; next,
Dermot, Kate and Oscar came here; last night we were at La
Gallerie in Quillan and had the good luck to run into Jenny, briefly
in town. She has been in Port-Vendres, next to Collioure, selling well.
Info for artists: the little galleries in Collioure cost a grand a week
in season and its not been a good year -
Iain is here till tomorrow. The Captain is on his way, with our Kat.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Ces quelques mots sont pour vous

Chers Eleonore et Dave

Car votre coeur est genereux

Comme les grappes ensoleillees

Des vignes de la Belle Aude

Quelle joie de celebrer, ensembles,

Les vendages de votre sage union

de la faire briller telle un beau cuivre

sur le bord de la chiminee.
Qu'il est doux de feter, ici,
Le long chemin de notre amitie
Soldide comme les chateaux d'Ecosse
Et de la voir se bonifer;

C'est un excellent cru millesime

Si vous permetter, pour vous remercier

J'etudierai la subtile alchemie des "Baps"
Et Daniel s'initiera aux mysteres du "Kilt"
Tout aussi passionnants que ceux de Rennes le Chateaux
Mais, aujourd-hui, levons notre verre
A nos meilleurs allies: l'amour et l'amitie
Et surtout cornemusons crions:
Vive la Marie!!

Louvet, Marie Christine, Bugarach


Roy and Jo sorted the cultural outing last night - off to
Cap'Cimema in Carcassonne for the Met link up and
All I knew about it - apart from the song that gets sung at
football matches - I got from WikiP in advance.

Usual operatic tale of mad princess hacking of the heads of
prospective husbands since she was raped in a previous
incarnation, until one can answer all her three riddles; when
achieved, he offers her, rather decently, the chance to wriggle
out of this deal by discovering his name. Then he tells her
anyway but by then he has forced her to kiss him and melted
her ice, as it were.
The reviewers of the day thought this was morally flawed.
They don't mention the masochistic slave girl, forced to suicide,
or the blind abandoned father.
As Roy says, it doesn't do to look too closely at operatic plots.

It was Puccini's last opera. He died after the 'none shall sleep'
aria - coooor - and the tempo becomes rather brisker as the loose
ends are pulled together by someone else (its all in WikiP, dont
ask me) Very dark though, full of fin de siecality, gorgeous.

And rendered massively so by being directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
Presumably they keep all the props and cossies in a big box until
the next season - they were old money classy, no flimsy nothings.

Turandot herself was sung and performed by one Maria
Guleghina who had the most fantastic voice I think Ive ever
heard. You could almost see why he was prepared to be
decapitated to hear her... almost.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


Our Kat has got through her exams and is now qualified to teach
English as a Foreign Language!
Many congratulations on your very hard work, Kat - and on your
persistent dedication. Intensive courses are not fun.

Soon we won't have to bother speaking French as Kat coverts
them to anglais.
She is back here with the Captain on Wednesday.

And in the meantime, those who are not coming to Turandot
tonight should go to the Café at Fa. Other than that - look out
for Iain tomorrow; should be here about 4.00.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Adieu, Liz and Frank -

I'm too miserable to talk about this; but much cheered when Liz
gave me her magnificent non-electric Singer sewing machine.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Weds night visitor

My old friend Richard came to visit en route to London from
his home in Italy - Annie and Pete gave us dinner and I forgot
my camera. They are off tomorrow but I will not talk about that.
So no photo of them but here's Richard ...

and here is Richard photographing me photographing him...
nice view of the Wall of Marquetry, class collection of wooden
pictures done by men in sheds.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

the vultures are circling

Egyptian white headed vultures seen circling over Tilling last
week - photo by Ian who says they were enormous. Surprised
one at a kill in the mountains one morning, frightened the life
out of me.

Monday, 2 November 2009

vote for Mike

This from Mike;

I’ve entered an image in the new Saatchi Showdown. It’s called
“The Learning” and it’s from my new “There and Then” series
where I am digitally reworking my mum’s sixties holiday snaps.
You might very well like it. You might even feel inclined to vote
for me. Please do so with gusto – 10 stars please and messing…..

All quiet in Tilling - except for the wind, startlingly frisky.

Saturday night fixture

This from Eddie; pass it on....
 Groove Club   
Unplugged Session at Café de Fa 7 Nov 2009
with Stan Adler, Deb Swallow, Serge Ducamin, Rida
and others...singers welcome.
No electric guitars - starts at 9.00pm

04 98 20 19 35 to reserve a table -Plat du jour 8.50 euros

And here is Lizette, Pete and Clares neighbour, getting the
flowers out for the Feast of the Dead on Sunday. Here it is
customary to put flowers on your ancestral grave; people
drive in from the towns to their family villages to do it,
though not as much as they used to according to the oldies.
Saw a fair few trotting about on Sunday nonetheless.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sunday lunch

- oysters at Peters, delicious!
Masses for me as hardly
anyone else there would
eat them.
Ashley swallowed two
and is still not convinced
that they are a Good
Thing. Peter cut himself
opening them but managed
not to get blood everywhere.

Fortunately there were
salads and other goodies.

It was lovely, sitting in the sun enjoying good food in
wonderful company: Ian, Leo, Joan, Nel and Peter, Peter and
Annie, Ashley -witty and engaging. And I was sober.
Poor Nel was in pain with poisoned foot but was brave and
looked after us all without complaining.

Afterwards walked up the mountain and planted some blackberries.

They have their exits and their entrances...

Last night was the farewell dinner for Liz and Frank; Jill and
Tony, Andrée and me at Le Cantou. I can't believe I forgot to
take a camera -! but they are not going till Friday. Once the
packing starts in earnest they are moving to Roy and Jo's so
I plan to catch them there, or perhaps at this mornings market.

It was a very good night, finishing at Andrées for a glass too
many. Great fun for me because today I stop the booze for
the whole of November - to get fit for the Christmas abuse -
and now I have enough in my system to get me through the
first few days.

There are so many movements going on here - what is the
matter with everyone? Restless spirits all...

Bieke has gone but will be back soon with her husband on the
16th for a couple of days.

Aileen and Ulla B are back from Normandy. She writes:
...Very ragged in the edges by now. And still I
have to drive to Tour and back on monday &
tuesday to recuperate a broken down trailer.
Hoping there will be some windows in by the
time I get back.

Biz and Mick have gone to New Zealand, will be back in spring.
They write...
See you next year m'dear. We look forward to it
Do NOT want to go.
Leo goes next week as does Nelike.
Pete and Annie I refuse to talk about.
Adrian and Maggie are gone.
Stephen is in Zurich.

Kat gets back with the Captain on the 11th...
A few words from darkest London. Its grey and
today but it has been sunny most of
the time and not
too cold.
Only one week to go!!!!! Last week was hard
did a bad
teaching on Monday but thank goodness
Fridays class went
well. Its hard to feel
positive when that happens but
it all worked
better later.
Loads of work for the weekend just
taking a break now
between projects.
Then its revision for the exams.

Yuk!!to both.
Bob makes a mean apple crumble.
In fact he made 2 from
apples Helen had
picked from the garden. Lucky for me he

doesn't like waste and I didn't eat them
quick enough
and they were going off.
I hardly have time to cook so have been living
See you next Wednesday, Bob and I are on the
same flight.
Hope there are some wild parties
due I feel in need of
one or at least seeing
everyone. Miss you all.

And Iain gets in on the 8th, staying at mine till the 12th;
I am currently in very sunny Mallorca where
I have been
for about a month. I am thinking of
popping over to pay
you a visit on my way home.
I am going to Barcelona for
a concert and am
going to stay a few days. I thought I
might drive
up on sunday 8th. I fly back to Edinburgh
on 12th
from Gerona. Hope you will all be there and not

swanning off to wherever on a whatever.
Swann? Moi? Engaged in honest, sober toil more like.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

mushrooms: magic?

These bizarre mushrooms have appeared by the river.
They are very hard - probably not ripe enough to eat yet.
Curiously comfortable to sit on though.